While the homeschool environment is a place where many families find themselves thriving, it can be intimidating to get started on homeschool programs. The good news? You are not alone! So many resources are available to families to get started with education at home. Here are a few things that new homeschool parents should know:
- There is no right or wrong way to homeschool.
One of the beautiful elements of homeschool is the freedom that it allows you to educate your children in unique ways. If you try something and it simply does not seem to be effective, then let it go. School is for the sake of learning, not the other way around. Of course, it may be helpful to get suggestions from other homeschool parents and resources. But, ultimately, they are your kids and you will know best what they need to enjoy learning.
- Homeschool is not just school at home.
If you are imagining that you will create a classroom that looks just like what a classroom looks like in a school, you may be trying too hard. Standing up in front of your children in front of a chalkboard and lecturing them is probably not going to be the best form of education for them. Instead of trying to mimic school, think about making the whole world into their classroom. Get out of the house. Rather than relegating the “task” of learning to certain times of day, in certain spaces, in certain ways, teach your children to enjoy learning. Make it your goal to create lifelong learners.
- Take breaks.
Kids are sponges and they almost never stop learning, but they may need many breaks from what they are doing in order to be able to soak up new things. Take breaks to explore, to be free, to run and play. To just think. Provide ample opportunities for having fun and developing a sense of learning through freedom.
- Know your kids and their learning styles.
Your kids are unique and the way that you teach them will be unique. Feel free to explore methods of teaching which bring excitement and passion to your kids. Know their learning styles and use them. If Johnny does well with quiet and Suzie learns better with music on, be creative about ways to make both of those things happen. Find ways to incorporate activities, music, visual aids, and other tools which are best for your children.
- Legal rights and support are available.
Although homeschool programs have certainly become increasingly more popular in the United States over recent years, there still may be times when homeschooling parents find themselves in need of support and legal assistance. It is encouraging to know that those resources are available if necessary.
The National Center for Life and Liberty Homeschool Center offers a new approach to legal help for homeschoolers through protecting, equipping, and serving. By offering information regarding each state’s legal requirements to hosting conventions and bringing seminars to churches, NCLL members have the tools they need to successfully homeschool while complying with government regulations.
Specialized Home School Programs and Co-ops May Be Helpful
If you’re feeling overwhelmed that your older students know more than you do about science or math, consider the resources of a homeschool co-op. Parents can take advantage of the expertise of others or share expenses to collectively hire a specific teacher to work on specific topics. Working together helps to maximize the use of your time and students can benefit from having someone other than mom or dad teaching them.
One of the most important things to know about homeschool programs? Have fun! Children who are having fun while learning is much more likely to develop and remember their experiences while growing into well-rounded, healthy people.